How to Enroll In the Right Heating and Cooling Program near Howard City Michigan
Now that you have decided on a career as a heating and air conditioning technician, the next action is to locate an HVAC technical school near Howard City MI. But with so many to select from, how do you decide on the ideal one to receive the training that you need? Some future students will make their selection based solely on the price of tuition or how near the school is to their home. Although these are significant considerations, they are not the only ones to take into account. Some of the other factors that you need to investigate are the graduation completion rates of the HVAC schools, their reputations, and if they are accredited by professional trade organizations. These and other benchmarks will be discussed in more detail later within this article. But before we examine how to pick an HVAC training program, let’s look at what a heating and a/c professional does to become a licensed skilled tradesman.
Becoming an HVAC Specialist
HVAC is an acronym that is commonly used in the trade that stands for “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. HVAC professionals specialize in the installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters and heating systems. As skilled tradesmen, they are typically required to be licensed, although every state and regional municipality has its own prerequisites. Obtaining professional certification is not required, but an optional means for Howard City MI HVAC specialists to demonstrate that they are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. There are many acknowledged certifications within the field that are offered. Following are a few of the significant ones.
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE). NATE is a nationally recognized certification for HVAC techs. The certification is earned by passing a competency exam and may be earned in one or more specialties.
- HVAC Excellence. This certification offers both a professional and a master specialist credential. 2 years of field experience as well as passing a comprehensive examination are needed for the professional level certification. Master specialists must have three years of experience in addition to a passing result on the professional level examination. As with NATE, certifications are provided in several specialties.
- EPA Section 608. This certification is necessary for technicians that work with refrigerants. There are 3 types of certification offered, one for small appliances, and the additional two for low and high pressure refrigerants.
Considering that licensing may be mandated in your area, and you may also intend to earn certification, it’s imperative that you select an HVAC vocational school that will train you for both. And since you will more than likely be working with refrigerants, make certain that the school you decide on preps you for passing the EPA Section 608 exams.
HVAC Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives available for HVAC training in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a certificate, an Associate Degree, or a Bachelor’s Degree. Acquiring a certificate will take the least amount of time, usually completed in as little as six months, although some programs are longer. A certificate will train you for most HVAC positions, especially if you are licensed and have certification applicable to the position. The degree programs might provide a competitive edge for securing employment and will provide more in-depth training than the certificate programs. Following is a short explanation of each credential offered near Howard City MI.
- Certificate. Normally requiring a high school diploma, certificate programs are very popular among entry level residential or commercial HVAC specialists. They provide a strong foundation of skills for job opportunities within the trade.
- Associate Degree. The Associate Degree in HVAC program delivers a more comprehensive knowledge of heating and cooling systems than the certificate program. Normally requiring two years to finish, many degrees incorporate an internship or work-study program.
- Bachelor’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC is geared more for a career in management or even business ownership. Some programs require an Associate Degree, while others are a conventional four year program. In addition to mastering how to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, you will also study how to design them.
Choosing the right credential program will be based on what your long term career objectives are, in addition to the time and money that you have to invest. One option is to start with a certificate or even an Associate Degree program, and after getting some experience in the field in Howard City MI, subsequently returning to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree. If this is your approach, make sure to ask the HVAC tech school you are considering about how their returning student program works.
HVAC Classes Online
Enrolling in an HVAC school online is one possibility to attaining your training and earning a certificate or degree. Nearly all schools will call for some attendance on campus to complete hands on training. Some also sponsor internship or work-study programs in addition to or in place of practical lab work. But since the balance of the classes can be attended on the web, this alternative may be a more convenient solution for many Howard City MI students that are pressed for time. And many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even travelling expenses from Howard City and study materials may be minimized, helping to make schooling more budget-friendly. And numerous online programs are fully accredited (more on this later). So if your job or family commitments have left you with minimal time to attend classes, maybe an HVAC online training program will make it less complicated to accommodate school into your active schedule.
What to Ask HVAC Certification Courses
Once you have decided on the type of degree or certificate that you wish to acquire, either online or on campus, you can start to narrow down your list of schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous HVAC technical schools in the Howard City MI area and throughout the USA to pick from. That’s why it is very important to have a list of important qualifiers when making school evaluations. As formerly stated in our opening paragraph, location and tuition will undoubtedly be the initial two variables you will take into consideration. Following are some additional ones that you need to explore before enrolling in your school of choice.
Accreditation. Many HVAC technical programs in the Howard City MI area have acquired either a regional or a national accreditation. They can receive Institutional Accreditation, which focuses on the school’s programs overall, or Programmatic Accreditation, which pertains to a specific program, for instance HVAC technology. Make certain that the program and school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, which includes the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. In addition to helping make certain that you acquire an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Furthermore, many states mandate that the HVAC training course be accredited for it to qualify for licensing.
High Completion Rates. Ask the Heating and Cooling schools you are reviewing what their completion rates are. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students who enroll in and finish the course. A low completion rate might suggest that students were disappointed with the course and quit. It may also suggest that the instructors were not competent to train the students. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. Older and/or more reputable schools may have a broader directory of graduates, which may produce more contacts for the school to employ for their apprenticeship and job placement programs. A high job placement rate can not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Howard City MI HVAC employers to help students acquire apprenticeships or employment.
Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous HVAC technical programs are taught together with an apprenticeship or an internship program. Those participating vocational and technical schools will help place you in an apprenticeship program within their network of HVAC contractors or labor unions. Check if the schools you are comparing have working relationships with local Howard City MI HVAC companies. An apprenticeship not only offers a rewarding experience by supplying practical training, but it also provides job opportunities and helps to form relationships in the area HVAC professional community.
Modern Facilities. Make certain that the campus facilities and the tools that you will be instructed on are up-to-date and what you will be working with on the job. If you are already in an internship or an apprenticeship, talk to the HVAC specialist you are working with regarding what you should be expecting. If not, ask a local Howard City MI HVAC company if they can give you some tips. Also keep in mind that unless you are willing to relocate, the school must be within driving distance of your Howard City MI home. Remember that if you decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides the added moving costs there can be increased tuition fees compared to in-state residents.
Smaller Classes. It’s desirable that you receive as much personalized instruction as possible, which can be difficult in larger classes. Ask if you can sit in on a few of the classes so that you can see how big they are and witness first hand the interaction between students and teachers. Speak to several of the students and get their feedback relating to class sizes and instruction. Last, talk to a few of the teachers and learn what their level of experience is and what degrees or certifications they hold.
Flexible Scheduling. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you are only able to go to classes at night or on weekends near Howard City MI, check that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Finally, ask what the policy is to make-up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering an HVAC School near Howard City MI?
Perhaps you are considering enrolling in an HVAC training program in the Howard City Michigan area. If so, you may find the following background information about the location of your new school campus both interesting and informative.
Howard City, Michigan
Benjamin Ensley owned the land on which he, E. W. Muenscher, and Mr. Shaw began the settlement that Muenscher platted in 1868. It was named for William A. Howard, a Detroit railroad attorney. The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad depot opened in 1869. A post office was established on January 12, 1870, with John B. Spencer as the first postmaster. It incorporated as a village in 1873. The post office name was shortened to "Howard" on February 2, 1895, but restored to Howard City on January 19, 1899.
Main street was initially constructed on Ensley Street, which was named after early settler Benjamin Ensley. In 1883, however, many of the wooden buildings on Ensley street burned down. Main Street was then shifted over to Edgerton Street, where it still stands today. The Hudson Knife factory and The Skinner and Steenman sideboard factory were two of the earliest businesses. Later, Hudson Knife Co. went through changes and became the Joslin and eventually Olsen Knife Company, which had the somewhat famous jingle, "Fatty Fatty run for your life, here comes Skinny with an Olsen Knife." Howard City schools were combined with Sand Lake schools to the south in 1962, and renamed Tri County, because students from Kent, Montcalm, and Newaygo counties all attended. The school still runs under the same moniker today.
Tri County Area Schools is the main school district in Howard City. Schools include Tri County High School, Tri County Middle School, MacNaughten Elementary, Sand Lake Elementary and Edgerton Upper Elementary. The School mascot is the Viking. Sports include football, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, sideline cheer, competitive cheer, golf, track and field, cross country, bowling, poms and soccer. In 2009, the varsity softball team took a District title, but fell short at regionals to Petosky. Neighboring schools include Newaygo, Grant, Morley-Stanwood, Lakeview and Cedar Springs.
HVAC Degree Online Howard City MI
Picking the right HVAC school program is a crucial first step toward a gratifying career in the heating and cooling industry. You originally came to this website because you wanted more information regarding HVAC Degree Online. However, as we have discussed in this post, you need to pick an HVAC training program and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the HVAC profession. Other things to search for are plenty of hands-on training and modern facilities. You need to check out each of the schools in person that you are most interested in to explore the campus and speak with both the faculty and current students. Attempt to get a feel for the quality of the training and the interaction between them. Additionally, inquire about scheduling options and whether or not evening or weekend classes are offered if needed. And don’t forget to inquire about financial assistance and student loan options also. If you ask the appropriate questions as we have laid out in our guidelines for comparing schools, you’ll be able to narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, you can eventually become a licensed HVAC technician in Howard City MI.
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